Weekly Photo Challenge: Anticipation

This week’s photo challenge from the Daily Post is anticipation. Since 2016 saw us moving from Pennsylvania to North Carolina, I am definitely anticipating a few things for 2017.

A new rescue kitty (or two):

cat

A new house with a sun room/screened-in porch and 2 car garage for my husband to tinker on his cars.

screened in porch

And finally, a book contract for my second novel: 2 Cats, a Bodyguard & an Heiress

contract

Hope everyone gets what they are anticipating!

Click  to read Photo Challenge: How Do You Relax? 

 

What Do The Mountains Say To You?

Recently, we shot down to Durham, North Carolina to find a home to rent until we buy one.

Leaving our little hometown of North East, PA at 9:00 am we made good time straight down I79, through Pittsburgh and right into West Virginia. The sun was out and the temperature climbed, the farther south we went.

Welcome to WV

map

I love the mountains of West Virginia and Virginia. These mountains give scenic views, recreational fun (hiking, kayaking, rafting, camping, etc.) and valuable resources.

traveling through mountains

mountains

In Virginia, we went through two tunnels. I love tunnels! For me, they are scary and at the same time exciting. I imagine racing through the tunnel before the massive weight of the mountain above crushes us…

tunnel

Eight hours from departing, we finally reached North Carolina! Our new state in a matter of weeks.

Welcome to NC

The first rest stop after crossing the Virginia/North Carolina border on I77 is a sight to behold. It is very shaded and beautifully landscaped with picnic tables inviting you to linger and stretch your legs.

NC rest stop

You also may see a variety of vehicles. Check this one out!

car

The mountains in North Carolina are pretty spectacular, too. My favorite has to be Stone Mountain with its dome of exposed granite.

Stone Mountain NC

Faraway view from highway

Stone Mountain State Park NC

Up close and personal from state park — *Correction* This is actually Pilot Mountain. Couldn’t get an up close photo of Stone Mountain.

On our way back, we had to drive through early morning fog.

fog

The tunnel came up before we knew it because of the dense fog.

tunnel in the fog

And the rain in Pennsylvania gave us an awesome rainbow!

rainbow

rainbow

What a beautiful trip!

Has anyone else driven through Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia or North Carolina? I’d love to hear about it.

 

 

 

Selling Your House is Like Picking Your Nose in Public

Currently, we are selling our house to be able to relocate south. This is the first time we’ve ever sold a house, so all this ‘fun’ is new to us. We’ve spent a couple months de-cluttering (see post Clutter: Where did it all come from? ), fixing minor tasks and updating (see post Giving our kitchen a makeover) and now we are in the selling phase.

for sale sign

There are so many decisions to be made:

  • Pick a realtor among hundreds of qualified people
  • Decide on a listing price after researching current market values and trends
  • Staging the house for photos
  • Deciding where to go with an indoor cat while the realtor shows your house to buyers 🙂

I never realized that selling your house would be like picking your nose in public. In other words: EVERYONE KNOWS YOUR BUSINESS. They not only know all about your finances, as regards the house and property, but they also get to walk through your home, peeking in your cabinets and closets.

That means no more hiding your grungy 1980 collection of Tupperware containers because you’re too cheap and lazy to buy new ones. And no more shoving clutter into your closets every time the in-laws should up. Your cabinets and closets must look as if you are a frugal and organized person, even if you are far from it 🙂

clutter

Then there’s the weeks of waiting, just waiting for that sweet offer. The waiting is frustrating, let me tell you. House buyers expect to find a house instantly perfect to suit them, right down to the wall color and lighting arrangement. That’s what Lowes and Home Depot are for people!

Anyone have any house selling tips for us?

Signed Pulling My Hair Out in Pennsylvania

 

Our Kitchen Makeover – Part 2

If you’ve been following my blog, you know we are pulling up roots and moving to North Carolina. My last post was on the first part of our weekend kitchen makeover, before putting the house on the market.  We had removed all the cabinet doors and hardware, then painted them a lighter shade, using Rust-Oleum’s kit for kitchen cabinets.

cabinet doors

If you haven’t read the first post, click Giving Our Kitchen a Makeover.

While the kitchen was torn apart, we also installed new counter tops.

counter top

Krissy striking a pose

Krissy striking a pose while keeping the counter top seam together.

Of course, unconnecting the sink produced a plumbing issue that had to be addressed with a new pipe and clamps.

Then it was time to put the dishwasher back in.

Jim peeking over the dishwasher.

Jim peeking over the dishwasher. If you hadn’t guessed, my job was mostly photographer and gopher 🙂

It had come out easily, but they had a bear of a time getting it back in and balanced.

I was able to put everything back into my cabinets, but had to wait three days before reattaching the doors, giving them time to cure. Otherwise, anytime you bumped them, the paint could dent or nick.

So, finally, here is the end result:

IMG_2786

 

IMG_2787

I think it looks pretty professional. (High five to John & Krissy, we couldn’t have done it without you!)

Here’s an up close view of the wood grain and new cabinet handles:

IMG_2791

So even if you won’t be selling your house, you too, can spruce up your kitchen, for very little money.

Any one else remodeling? Care to share success stories or nightmares? Love to hear them.

Giving Our Kitchen a Makeover

Since we’re moving, we’re getting ready to put the house on the market. We’ve done some freshening and updating. It’s amazing what a little paint and polish can do to freshen a house. We live our busy lives with work and school activities then before we know it, five years have passed and that beautiful sea-foam green has faded to a boiled green bean water.

If you want to go farther than just fresh paint, you can update kitchens and bathrooms. According to several sources, the kitchen is the room that sells the house!

kitchen

Be sure to check on the market value of your house before spending thousands on a new kitchen, to be sure you will get enough return on the investment. If you don’t want to go to that extent, you can freshen up a kitchen for far less money.

Our cabinets are oak in a dark stain, which I love, but apparently lighter stain cabinets are more popular these days. So, with the help of a kit from Rust-Oleum, and family, we repainted our cabinets.

my kitchen before

Excuse the mess, I had to snap this photo quickly before my husband began taking the doors off (even before I had put dishes away).

 

painting cabinets kit

Here is the kit we used. There are two versions, one for lighter cabinets and one for darker. Then they tint the paint to the color you choose.

The first step is to take off the cabinet doors and remove the drawers. Carefully take off the handles and hinges, clean and set aside if you will be reusing them.

kitchen without doors

Kitchen without doors

While your husband is cleaning the cabinets, you will have to empty the kitchen cabinets and counters. I crammed it all into the dining room and we lived out of bags and boxes for almost a week.

dining room

It’s best if you have lots of room to spread out the doors, so you can set up an assembly line and they can dry between steps. We set up saw horses and shelves in the garage. You use the cleaner (provided in the kit) to remove the dirt and grease that accumulates over the years. Don’t skimp on this step. The success of your painting depends largely on how clean you get your cabinets.

After cleaning the wood, you begin to paint. Usually, I get headaches from paint fumes but I was happily surprised that all the supplies in this kit have very little smell to them. You will do two coats of the paint, letting it dry 2-3 hours between coats. Buy good quality brushes or they will leave too many brush hairs behind.

 

cabinet doors

We chose River Birch to lighten our cabinets.

kitchen

After the paint step, there is a glazer you can apply which will enhance the wood grain. Since our cabinets are oak with a beautiful wood grain we opted to use the glazer. You paint it on then wipe it off and the color remains in the wood grain. The longer you leave it on, the darker it will be. If you prefer just a painted look, without the wood grain, then skip this step.

The last step is a clear protector that seals and protects, giving the wood a slight shine. You have to let everything set for at least 48 hours before attaching the doors and drawers because the paint will be soft enough to nick and dent if you hit it while re-installing. We waited three days to be sure.

In the meantime, we replaced the counter top. Things went pretty smoothly up to this point 🙂 My next post will cover the rest of our kitchen makeover weekend.

Has anyone else refreshed their kitchen? What were your experiences?

 

Clutter – Where Did It All Come From?

I am currently decluttering a house we’ve lived in for the past 30 years. Why, you might ask?

Because it’s official:

We are moving to North Carolina!

Our sons and I have lived our whole lives in Pennsylvania, but now is the right time for us to pull up stakes and move south. The state of Pennsylvania is a beautiful place with so many things to see and do but for those of us who live here permanently, the summer is too short and the winter too long 🙂 My husband and I have wanted to move south for some years now, but our jobs and our sons still in school put that desire on hold. Now, one son being finished with college and the other in his second year of college, along with a recent loss of a good-paying job makes it the perfect time to move.

This decision was not easy to make, but I feel it is the right one for us.

If you have a big decision to make, read Big Decisions Can Be Scary!

clutter

My office/library has become the donation pile, packing pile and haven’t-decided-yet pile room.

So now we come to the subject of this post: clutter – where does it all come from?

Before putting the house on the market, we need to downsize from 30 years of accumulating stuff. I’ve been decluttering for about a month and have sent 5 trips to the local thrift store. But there’s still more! How could 4 people accumulate so much stuff?

I never realized that all these closets, drawers and cabinets can hold a lot of clutter. Now, I’m not talking about hoarding old junk mail, used take-out food containers and plastic silverware. The clutter I am going through is 16 sweaters when 4 would do, doubles of photographs from the boys’ childhood, old brides’ maid dresses and that plastic, Tupperware melon-baller that I won during a 1990 party that I never used.

melon baller

And why do we hang onto these ‘extra but still useful’ items?

  • Sentimental value
  • “I may wear/use it someday
  • Being a pack rat
  • The old boy scouts motto, always be prepared

What’s the solution? Recycle, reuse!

Bag up clean, useful items and drop them off at your local thrift store or drop off location. You will be freeing up your house of too many possessions and at the same time providing help to those who could really use the item.

Here are some sites that can help you declutter and organize:

How about you? Do you have clutter? What ways do you use to eliminate clutter?